Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Old Favorite

Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs
by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Lauren Stringer 

Rounded, almost amoebic, acrylic forms float on white pages containing few words of text. Warm, dark colors dominate the center of the pages. The story is similar in aspect to Mary Ann Hoberman’s A House is a House for Me, although perhaps a bit less abstract and more strictly literal.

The opening title pages feature two children and their dog. They busy themselves on a nature walk, reading comics in a “house” made of a cardboard box, playing at an anthill, pointing to a bird’s nest. Most of the scenes are in and around the children’s house. Pine trees are heavily featured in the background of many of the illustrations, and a tree which squirrels scamper upon is clearly the same tree in the children’s yard (complete with idyllic swing hanging from its branches.) The “castle” of the story’s title is a charming little playhouse for the children. The easy rhymes lend a feel of the bedtime story to this book (the same brother and sister featured earlier are cozily tucked into bed by the end of the story.) This book could also find itself well suited as a discussion opener for any pre-school or kindergarten class discussing concepts of nature and homes.

I read these book recently as part of a "Houses and Homes" themed storytime, where it was a big hit. I also included a reading of Whose House? by Barbara Seuling, Stray Dog by Marc Simont, a rendition of "This Old Man" (sung with a puppet), and an action rhyme version of Goldilocks which I originally found on

Sung to the tune of "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around"

Goldilocks, Goldilocks, turn around, (turn around)
Goldilocks, Goldilocks, knock on the door, (make knocking motion with hand)
Goldilocks, Goldilocks, eat some porridge, (pretend to eat)
Goldilocks, Goldilocks, have a seat, (sit down)
Goldilocks, Goldilocks, go to sleep, (put cheek on folded hands)
Goldilocks, Goldilocks, run, run, run, (swing arms as if running)

I borrowed this book from the library.

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